The biggest reason thousands of residents signed the Greenlight petition
is because of the promise of a solution to what they believe is a growing
traffic problem in the city.
Both sides agree that the sources of traffic are residents driving to and
from their homes and businesses, commuters who drive through the city on
a daily basis and tourists who come for the city's beaches and large
While the measure, by stopping development, could freeze the traffic from
residents and businesses, it does not address the other two sources.
And while the perception among residents' activists clearly is that
traffic congestion in Newport Beach is out of control, others argue that,
compared to most cities in the state and even the county, traffic here is
Another argument against the notion that Greenlight will put the brakes
on traffic is that developers could simply take their proposals to an
adjacent city and build there. Newport Beach would not get any of the tax
money, but would be stuck with the ever-increasing traffic problem as
people will undoubtedly always drive through the city.
Beek said at least the initiative would address one element of the
problem. He said the city could deal with the increasing traffic in a
number of ways, including keeping narrow streets to discourage commuters
or building overpasses to ease the burden.
However, the question remains: Where would the money come from to pay for
roadwork if there is a moratorium on development?
Among other sources, Beek suggested state money.
DISRUPTING DEMOCRACY?The red flag city leaders have been waving is
that the measure disrupts the democratic process of elected government.
O'Neil argued that he hires state and national representatives because he
doesn't have the time and may not have the background to make educated
legislative decisions. Vice mayor Gary Adams added that residents already
have the right to overturn council decisions they don't agree with
through the referendum process.
This measure would completely change the way Newport government operates,